BSAC has released the latest annual Diving Incident Report for 2021, which recorded a total of 218 incidents throughout the UK.

As part of its role as National Governing Body, BSAC reports annually on diving incidents in the UK, from all diver training agencies. The report is compiled by BSAC Incident Advisor, Jim Watson and data analyst, Ben Peddie. 

View and download BSAC Incident Report 2021

The Incident Report and its data analysis aims to promote diver safety as well as understand any trends that can support all the diving agencies in their diver training programmes and safety advice. 

The 2021 report covers incidents from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021. During this period, a total of 235 incidents were recorded, which sadly includes fifteen incidents resulting in sixteen fatalities. The number of reported incidents is approaching the numbers seen prior to the effects of the pandemic.

Impact of Covid-19

The diving year of 2021, while initially impacted by ongoing restrictions on diving activity, eased as the year progressed. The number of incidents reported in 2021 have almost returned to pre-pandemic levels following the significantly reduced number of incidents reported in 2020, which was attributed to the restrictions on diving activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some other key features of the 2021 report include:

  • There is some evidence that some equipment failures may have been affected by the extended period of inactivity due to the pandemic
  • Decompression Illness (DCI) was the most reported category of incident, followed by surface/boat incidents and injuries
  • Separation and solo diving continue to feature prominently in the factors associated with incidents resulting in a fatality

There are indications for likely medical causes, including immersion pulmonary oedema, in at least four of the fatalities and potentially others yet to be confirmed.

View and download BSAC Incident Report 2021

BSAC Incident Advisor Jim Watson said:

“As with previous Incident Reports published over many years, some incidents reported in 2021 could possibly have been avoided had those involved followed a few basic principles of safe diving practice. In addition, many of the unavoidable incidents are prevented from escalating into something more serious by the prompt utilisation of rescue skills and the rapid support of the rescue services. BSAC publishes online advice on 'Safe Diving‘ summarising all the key elements of safe diving practice, and we urge all divers to ensure equipment is maintained properly and to evaluate their own personal fitness levels. Incident analysis shows that through continuous training, skills practice and careful dive planning divers are able to greatly reduce their chances of suffering an incident.”

Help us to keep diving safe

If you have been involved in or witnessed an incident, please report it – in confidence – and help us to continue to shape a safe future for diving.

Whether you are a BSAC diver or dive with another agency, a recreational or technical diver or if the incident happened in the UK or overseas, BSAC wants to hear about it. You can find the form online at

Website by NetXtra